Empty promises.

If you haven’t yet let the politicians hear your voice in support of Jamie and Ali and the remaining children of BRESMA, please do so.  It just take a few minutes of your time. Click here to read that post. I’ll be sure to update as I hear any developments.  I do know the children are very sick, some much more so than others.  For some, time really is of the essence because if they don’t get help soon, they will die.


(Luke Ravenstahl, yelling at the media for asking where he was for 22 hours)

Let’s talk about life and death some more because it’s winter, it’s cold, it’s gray and it’s dreary. It fits.

During that which we now respectfully call Snowmageddon, after 10 calls in 30 hours to 911, each more frantic than the last, a 50-year-old Hazelwood man,  Curtis Mitchell, died in his home because the paramedics could not reach him due to untreated, snow- and ice-covered streets.

Ambulances were dispatched three times on Saturday, Feb. 6, to the couple’s home in the 5100 block of narrow Chaplain Way, but couldn’t get there because of the snow. Paramedics twice asked whether Mr. Mitchell could walk to an intersection, even after he told them that he could not because he was in too much pain.

Emergency vehicles were within blocks of his home three times — once so close Ms. Edge could see the ambulance lights from her porch — but did not make contact with him. They finally reached the home on Sunday morning, Feb. 7, but Mr. Mitchell was already dead.

“If he wants a ride to the hospital, he is just going to have to come down to the truck,” a medic told the dispatcher. Mr. Mitchell said he would try to walk to the truck, but later told them he couldn’t make it across the bridge.

When it comes to emergency personnel, whether they be police officers, firemen and women, or paramedics, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt when their actions are called into question.  I don’t know the kind of pressure they’re under, the fear they have, the mortality they stare in the face every day and how that affects their on-the-job decisions.

However, in this case, I simply asked myself a question.  If Curtis was any of these paramedic’s father, would he have died?

If they got a few blocks from the home of their father who was in need of medical care in order to save his life, would they have left? Would they have called their father and said, “Dad, you need to come to me. I’m not coming to you?”

I know if it was my father, I’d have found a way.  I wouldn’t have asked him to walk to me.  I’d have reached him, put him on a sled and dragged him through the snow for a few blocks back to that ambulance. I’d never, ever, ever have driven away from him to let him die.

Some might say, “Well, how was the paramedic to know just how severe and life-threatening his illness was?”  I don’t believe that’s for the paramedics to decide in this instance.  They’re emergency responders.  They have to approach each case as a valid emergency because if they don’t, things like this happen.  I know if my thinking on this is erroneous, that those of you in this field of work can correct me, and believe me, I’m open to that.  I’m trying to be fair.

So, while we’re pointing fingers here, we can point fingers at the paramedics, but we must also point a few other fingers where they absolutely should go.

Finger pointed at the Mayor for not doing what he said he would do, which was overhaul the snow-removal system two years ago and would overhaul the 911 system, as well.

Finger pointed at whoever the Mayor delegated that task.

Finger pointed at whoever is the boss-man in charge of snow removal.

Finger pointed at the call center for the way they handled each of the ten calls.  As separate instances of pleas for help, instead of as one man begging for help ten times. Perhaps if that wasn’t the case, the paramedics would have tried harder.

You know what? I hate to do this because I have such a reputation for picking on the mayor, but I’m sorry.  If you don’t want me to pick your nits, don’t paint a glow-in-the-dark fluorescent target on your bum, Luke. An additional finger is pointed at the Mayor for saying this very awesome, I’m on my horse and I’m in charge, WE GOT THIS kind of soundbite he gave to the media on Feb. 8, the day after Curtis died:

No matter where you’re at in the city, no matter what your street may look like, if you have an emergency, we will be able to get to it,” he said.

Oh, look!  BULLS EYE!

Hey, you guys, if I should meet an untimely end, you know where to start, right? I don’t want to name names, but it rhymes with LEAD ZORD DROBER.


  1. Bojack
    February 20, 2010 8:05 am


    IMHO, it’s the total package!!

    Mary Tyler Mooreanelli AND reality!

    You want pure fluff, watch KDKA news!!

  2. lawyer-type
    February 22, 2010 10:01 am

    The streets and sidewalk exceptions only apply if the plaintiff is directly injured by a defect in and of the street or sidewalk, for example, a pothole or crack in the sidewalk.

    Is Huss angry because he also had to cancel his Mardi Gras plans? I mean, he’s the brilliant public safety director who decided to travel to the mountains on the eve of a predicted snow storm and then couldn’t manage to dig his mayor out to get him safely back to Pgh in time to do his job. I agree w/the comment in the link provided by Moonbeam’s Momma that opines that Huss is not interested in anything except self-promotion. Huss may have all the basic credentials, and he talks a good game, but some of the most serious and embarassing public safety debacles of the last two decades have happened under his watch. He talks a good game about how tough he’s going to be on those who break the rules, but a good manager invests his greater energy in anticipating these events and developing good policy and making good personnel decisions to prevent them from ever happening. No, Huss is the kind of guy who promotes domestic abusers and then huffs and puffs when they embarass him by committing domestic abuse. How many more firefighters will be arrested for DUI before Huss figures out what to do?

    Unfortunately, most people have zero faith that the current administration will ever figure anything out until the eve of the next election. The only option is to be your own public safety manager (adopt 24/7 a worst-case-scenario system, i.e. the city will never provide me with the services I reasonable expect) or take your tax dollars to a grown-up municipality that has its priorities straight.